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Naturally Colored Diamonds: You Fancy!

Naturally colored diamonds are an incredible sight! The deep grey/blue color of the 45.20ct Hope Diamond or Jennifer Lopez’s 6.10ct pink diamond engagement ring with Ben Affleck give us a wow-experience! Last week, I talked about the diamond color grading scale and how it is really about how colorless the diamond is ( ). At a certain point though, the saturation and vividness of a particular color in a diamond pushes it into a whole other category called fancy colored diamonds!

Natural Fancy colored diamonds are truly the rarest of the rare! In fact, only 1 in 10,000 diamonds have a fancy color, according to the Gemological Institute of America ( ). While the rarest fancy colored diamonds are heavy in carat weight and are intense in color, most fancy colored diamonds are more toned down and muted in color, like Blake Lively’s wedding ring. Let’s not be mistaken, though, they are still rare!

Surprisingly, naturally colored diamonds come in a rainbow of colors! Red, pink, green, purple and orange are generally the rarest, followed by pink and blue, with yellow and brown being more common. Black and grey diamonds are considered fancy colored diamonds as well! Interestingly, only a handful of red diamonds are known to exist! Without getting too technical, here are the causes of natural color in diamonds.

· Red, Pink, Purple, and Brown – Slight changes in the crystal structure

· Blue – The presence of Boron

· Yellow and Orange – The presence of Nitrogen

· Green – Radiation exposure that displaces the carbon atoms from their normal positions in the crystal structure. Green diamonds are often looked at with suspicion because it is difficult to tell if the radiation exposure happened in the ground while developing or as a treatment after it was mined.

· Black – Large quantities of mineral inclusions like graphite, pyrite, or hematite

Over the years, you have probably heard terms to describe natural colored diamonds, like cognac, canary, champaign, or chocolate. These are only trade names, and not listed on the fancy colored diamond grading scale. What you will see on a GIA diamond grading report for colored diamonds is one of these color distinctions, Faint, Very Light, Fancy, Fancy Intense, Fancy Dark, Fancy Deep, or Fancy Vivid.

In the last few years, there has been a national jewelry chain store advertising their fancy colored diamond jewelry line which might cause you to wonder why I am saying that they are so rare. There are two main processes that diamonds can be treated after they are mined to change the color of a diamond: Irradiation and High Pressure High Temperature (HPHT). (You can read more about both here: & ) These diamond treatments bring the cost of a colored diamond significantly and make them more plentiful and cost effective to use in fashion jewelry. Treating diamonds for color isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but they must be disclosed in the sales presentation and paperwork.

One of my earliest experiences with a naturally colored diamonds was a gorgeous brown diamond. The brown was vivid yet warm and smooth. You could see the spectral colors dancing around it in the light! It was set in a platinum ring with baguette cut diamonds surrounding it. I wish I could have bought it because I still think about it 23 years later!

If you are looking for something to really set you apart, a natural fancy colored diamond is a great idea! As a Graduate Gemologist through GIA and 23 years of experience, I can guide you through, together, we’ll locate and select the right piece, stone, setting or jewelry designer for you. Book your one-on-one appointment with me today!

(Photo of the Pink Legacy Diamond taken by the Gemological Institute of America)

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